Another Conference on Mormons

Call for Papers: “Interpretation: LDS Perspectives”

Sponsored by Mormon Scholars in the Humanities and Mormon Scholars Foundation

May 16-17, 2008
Southern Virginia University

As a continuation of the Faith and Knowledge series inaugurated by the Religious Studies workshop for LDS graduate students at Yale University in February 2007 and a follow-up to the inaugural Mormon Scholars in the Humanities conference in March, 2007, Mormon Scholars in the Humanities and Mormon Scholars Foundation are collaborating on a conference to take place on May 16-17 of 2008 on the campus of Southern Virginia University. The conference theme is “Interpretation: LDS Perspectives.”

The conference welcomes papers from all disciplines in the humanities, including literature, religion, philosophy, history, and the arts, that reflect on interpretation within the Mormon tradition or within other traditions. We seek to address such questions as: What are the grounds for Mormon interpretation? Are there reasons to argue against a “Mormon” interpretation? Is it possible to extract interpretive guidelines for understanding the world from our theology, our history, or our way of life? Or is it best to borrow and adapt the perspectives of secular culture and not strive for anything distinctive? What are the particular dimensions and implications of interpretation laid out in the restored scriptures? How is interpretation of history and of literature distinct from the interpretation of sacred books? How do they influence one another? What is the relationship between interpretation and religious, academic, or political authority? What difference does a restoration theology make to our acts of interpretation? What lessons can be learned from the various traditions we study in the humanities and how might the Mormon tradition benefit from those traditions? What is the relevance, for example, of literary theory? How is interpretation of music and art and of foreign languages relevant to the restoration of all things? In acts of interpretation, what are the distinct roles played by inspiration, historical context, personality, and the text in question? What is the religious, ethical, or secular value of a self-conscious understanding of this process?

The conference will also hold a special workshop on “Making Graduate School Spiritually, Academically, and Professionally Successful.” The aim of this workshop will be to facilitate conversation between senior and junior level scholars about their graduate school experiences.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 200 words and an abbreviated CV to George Handley at [email protected] by January 11, 2007.


Southern Virginia University will provide subsidized housing and food. For those without sufficient travel funds of their own, modest stipends will also be provided. All participants must be members of MSH at the time of the symposium. Membership information is available at

6 comments for “Another Conference on Mormons

  1. James
    November 27, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    Has anyone considered a conference for those of us who are scholars in the organization and management disciplines. It would be very interesting to discuss issues of ethics, management, training, and business accountability through the lens of LDS doctrine and culture. After all why should the Humanities and Mormon Studies folks have all the fun. I would think that at least a few of us applied social science people would like to play too.

  2. November 27, 2007 at 11:59 pm

    Thanks for the heads up, Jim. I attended the MSitH conference last year, and was impressed. I like what George Handley is trying to do with the organization.

    James, BYU Religious Education and the Ira Fulton College of Engineering at Technology sponsored a conference on ethics and integrity in the professional arena in spring 2006. The proceedings from that conference are being published by the Religious Studies Center at BYU. It is my understanding that similar conferences are being planned for the future, but with the Marriott School of Business, and other college departments. These conferences appear to be limited to papers by BYU Professors, but might provide the format for a conference such as the one you propose.

  3. November 28, 2007 at 12:44 am

    You know it has been years but I am still in awe that there is a Southern Virginia University which plays a private role of BYU east. It is just too bad like BYU grad schools do not seem to exist (in history for BYU).

  4. Ben
    November 28, 2007 at 9:03 am

    I attended the February conference at Yale, and this doesn’t sound like the same group. Or at least, at the Yale conference, there was no association with MSH that I recall. Teh Yale conference was Richard Bushman organized, with no BYU involvement. This has a BYU guy as the contact person.

  5. November 28, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    Ben: The Mormon Scholars Foundation is the the institutional alter-ego for Bushman’s various projects. The idea is to create some sort of an organization with tax-exempt status through which the funding and organization of various Bushman projects can be run.

  6. Ben
    November 28, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    Ah, thanks Nate. Much obliged.

Comments are closed.